Relievers who are stingy with walks
The pitching staff as a whole was painful to watch, but the bullpen, in particular, was unbearable.
How did they blow 29 saves (fourth-most in MLB) and have the fourth-worst save percentage in the majors? To paraphrase the legendary Dennis Eckersley, walks will kill you. Overall, the Sox pitching staff’s 8.5 BB% was tied for eighth-worst in MLB. Over 623 1/3 innings of relief work, the Sox bullpen posted a combined 4.59 ERA, struck out 627 batters, and issued 268 walks, ten more than the starting pitchers allowed over 807 2/3 innings. Those 268 free passes were the fifth-most allowed by any bullpen, though nine other teams’ bullpens threw more innings.
Their 40% Inherited Score Percentage – the % of runners on when a pitcher enters the game who end up scoring – tied the Padres for the MLB lead.
Chalk some of that garbage up to a very injured and ineffective starting rotation; it’s fair to say these guys were exhausted from all the additional work they ended up doing. But really, this bullpen wasn’t built to withstand anything in the first place, and that was clear when the Sox were desperate enough to sign Jeurys Familia in September.
Players who do well vs AL East rivals
The Sox were mind-blowingly terrible against their division rivals this season. They eked out a winning record against the Orioles at the end of the year but went 6-13 against the Yankees, 7-12 to the Rays, and 3-16 versus the Blue Jays.
Even with divisional play reducing from 19-game season series to 12 games to accommodate for more inter-league play next year, the Sox still need to be able to hold their head high in the division. Why not sign someone like Trey Mancini, who has incredible numbers at Fenway and the other AL East ballparks? He can DH or play some outfield or first base, and he’d cost significantly less than the Sox have been paying JD Martinez for the last five years.